St. Cloud’s Noah Craig signs with Francis Marion

  • St. Cloud Senior Goaltender Noah Craig (front row, center) is surrounded by his teammates as he signs his letter of intent to play soccer at Francis Marion SUBMITTED PHOTO
    St. Cloud Senior Goaltender Noah Craig (front row, center) is surrounded by his teammates as he signs his letter of intent to play soccer at Francis Marion SUBMITTED PHOTO
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Senior goaltender Noah Craig, who played a major role in leading the St. Cloud Bulldogs to their finest season in school history, has signed an athletic scholarship to play for Francis Marion College in South Carolina.

“It was an easy decision:’ Craig said. “The school has a beautiful campus and top-of-the-line athletic facilities, as well as strong academics. My career ambition is in law enforcement and they have an outstanding sociology program which will be great fit. It doesn’t hurt that they have a highly competitive program. They won their conference championship last year but lost some key seniors. There certainly could be some opportunity for early playing time:’

Craig has been a starter and stalwart in goal for St. Cloud for three years, and will be a big loss for the Bulldogs. In his four years as a varsity player, he made 358 saves on 418 shot; while playing 3064 minutes in goal. He averaged seven saves per game for 51 games. During his senior year, he played in the field for a few games - contributing five goals.

He was a major reason why St. Cloud went on a late run and won five of its last six regular season games, before winning its first district championship in more than 15 years, defeating New Smyrna Beach, 3-1. The Bulldogs then beat traditional state power Viera, 3-0, in a regional quarterfinal before dropping a heartbreaking 1-0 decision on the road to an outstanding George Jenkins team. Jenkins would go on to win the region and advance to the state Final Four; while St. Cloud finished with an outstanding 15-6-1 record.

“Noah showed significant leadership and was selected team captain during both for his junior and senior years. He is an extremely agile, athletic keeper that can make quick saves in the tightest of spaces. His command of the field is his biggest strength,” St. Cloud Head Coach Weylan Craig said. “When he is on the field, he knows where every player should be and he lets them know. He can usually be heard from the parking lot.’’

In addition to play for SCHS, Craig has played club soccer at the highest levels. He has played for Florida Kraze Krush for a number of years, and was also selected to play on in the United States Olympic Development program.

“While it’s difficult as a coach losing one of the best keepers in school history, it’s going to be equally difficult seeing him leave home as a parent:’ Weylan Craig said of his son, Noah. “I have coached him most of his life. Now, I transition to just being a dad. I look forward to being a spectator at his games at Francis Marion.’’